Queen of Flowers

Learn about the "Queen of Flowers" on this Focus on Flowers.

A pink rose.

Photo: Auntie P (Flickr)

The ancient Greeks cultivated roses, not only because of their beauty, but also to use for perfumes and medicines.

The rose is the flower of those born in June and it is often called the Queen of Flowers. Contained in the genus Rosa are many plants including fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, plums, strawberries and cherries.

The ancient Greeks cultivated roses, not only because of their beauty, but also to use for perfumes and medicines. Attar-of-roses is a yellowy-green oil taken from the base of rose petals before the buds open. It takes one and a half tons of fragrant petals to make just one pound of attar.

The Gallica rose, cultivated since the 16th century is thought to be the earliest European rose species. In 1798 Napoleon’s wife Josephine, grew them when she developed the greatest rose garden ever before seen, and she eventually collected over 250 different types of roses.

Since the 19th century, hybridizers have produced vast numbers of different cultivars, and roses are now commonplace on all continents except Antarctica. Most recently, the easy care Knock Out roses are earning a prominent place in our modern landscapes. A 19th century poet Abraham Gruber wrote:

The Roses red upon my neighbor’s vine

Are owned by him, but they are also mine.

His was the cost, and his the labor, too,

But mine as well as his the joy, their loveliness to view.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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